Seminar: Applied Labor Economics

Course content

The seminar provides students the opportunity to develop deeper knowledge about a topic of their own choice in the area of labor economics with a particular focus on the understanding of empirical concepts and methods typically applied.


Beside core topics in labor economics (such as labor demand/supply, unemployment, job search, human capital, discrimination, labor market policies), the seminar paper can also cover topics on the intersection to health, education, behavioral or organizational economics.


For instance, the seminar paper can critically analyze and discuss an influential article from one of these areas, fit it into the current literature (i.e. discuss related papers that appeared afterwards) and derive potential policy implications. Alternatively, students may define a concrete research question within one the areas and answer it based on the existing literature.


In both cases, students should discuss possible extensions. For instance, they can develop further the research design of the initial paper, extend an existing theoretical model or analyze and discuss the effects of existing regulations, e.g. in the Danish labor market.


It is particularly appreciated if students propose and perform an own empirical analysis. This can comprise the examination and replication of published research findings from highly ranked economic journals. For instance, students can re-construct and re-assess existing estimations, perform additional sensitivity analyses or re-run estimation based on different data.


Examples of dataset that can be used for an empirical analysis will be discussed during the introductory meeting. Please note that many economic journals demand authors to provide data sets used for the empirical analysis. For instance, journals such as The American Economic Review, the American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, the Journal of Applied Econometrics and the Journal of Political Economy also provide free public access to a large variety of data sets in their online archives.


MSc programme in Economics

The seminar is primarily for students at the MSc of Economics

Learning outcome

Additional for the learning outcome specified in the Master curriculum the student is after completing the seminar expected to be able to:



  • Define and account for core topic in the area of labor economics and related empirical methods
  • Identify relevant concepts in labor economics



  • Analyze individual-level data
  • Interpret econometric analysis
  • Recognize data limitations
  • Critical examinate related literature



  • Apply insights from economic literature on related research questions
  • Develope own research design

At the seminar the student is trained independently to
- identify and clarify a problem,
- seek and select relevant literatur,
- write a academic paper,
- present and discuss own paper with the other students at the seminar.

The aim of the presentations is, that the student uses the presentation as an opportunity to practice oral skills and to receive feedback. The presentations is not a part of the exam and will not be assessed.

Mandatory activities in the seminar:
- Kick-off meeting
- Finding literatur and defining the project
- Writing process of the seminar paper
- Presentation of own project and paper
- Giving constructive feedback to another student´s paper
- Actively participating in discussions at the presentations and other meetings.

There is no weekly teaching/lecturing and the student cannot expect guidance from the teacher. If the teacher gives a few introduction lectures or gives the opportunity for guidance, this as well as other expectations are clarified at the kickoff meeting.

It is strongly recommended that you think about and search for a topic before the semester begins, as there is only a few weeks from the kick-off meeting to the submission of the project description/ agreement paper.

The seminar project paper must be uploaded in Absalon before the presentations, as the opponents and the other seminar participants have to read and comment on the paper. It is important that you upload a paper that is so finalized as possible due to the fact that the value of feedback and comments at the presentation is strongly associated with the skill level of the seminar paper.

After the presentations, you can with a few corrections improve the seminar paper by including the feedback and comments emerged during the presentations. It is NOT intended that you rewrite or begin the writing of the full project AFTER the presentation has taken place.

Basic references:

  • Boeri, T. and J. van Ours (2013): The economics of imperfect labor markets. Princeton University Press.
  • Cahuc, P., S. Carcillo and A. Zylberberg (2014): Labor economics. MIT press.
  • Ehrenberg, R. and R. Smith (2016): Modern labor economics: Theory and public policy. Routledge.


For the empirical analysis:

  • Angrist, J. and J. Pischke (2009): Mostly harmless econometrics. Princeton University.
  • Cameron, C. and P. Trivedi (2005): Microeconometrics. Methods and applications. Cambridge University Press.
  • Cameron, C. and P. Trivedi (2010): Microeconometrics using Stata. Stata Press.
  •  Wooldridge, J. (2002): Econometric analysis of cross section and panel data. MIT Press.


To seek inspiration for a concrete topic the Handbook of Labor Economics provides a useful collection of articles summarizing the state of the literature on almost all relevant topics:

  • Ashtenfelter, O. and D. Card (Eds.) (2011): Handbook of labor economics. Elsevier.

Students should have sound knowledge of microeconomic theory as in Microeconomics I and II, and empirical methods as in Econometrics I and II.

Students will also benefit from previous or concurrent participation in courses on Labor Economics, Advanced Microeconometrics and Applied Econometric Policy Evaluation.

BSc in Economics or similar


• Kick-off meeting: September 9, 2021, 10:15-12:00
• Deadline for submission of commitment paper: October 1, 10am
• Progress meetings: October 13 to 15
• Deadline for submission of nearly-final seminar paper: November 10
• Presentations/Workshops: November 17 to 18, 10:15-18:00

Exam date: 1 December at 10.00 (am) - latest uploading of Seminar paper to the Digital Exam portal for assessment.

All information regarding the seminar is communicated through Absalon including venue. So it is very important that you by yourself logon to Absalon and read the information already when you are registered at the seminar.

Peer feedback (Students give each other feedback)


Each student receives individually oral feedback on the paper and at the presentation from peers and supervisor.

The supervisor gives the students collective oral feedback and individual guidance.

7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written examination
A seminar paper in English that meets the formal requirements for written papers stated in the curriculum of the Master programme and at KUNet for seminars.
All aids allowed

for the seminar paper.

The teacher defines the aids that must be used for the presentations.


Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
External censorship
Criteria for exam assessment

Students are assessed on the extent to which they master the learning outcome for the seminar and can make use of the knowledge, skills and competencies listed in the learning outcomes in the Curriculum of the Master programme.


To receive the top grade, the student must with no or only a few minor weaknesses be able to demonstrate an excellent performance displaying a high level of command of all aspects of the relevant material.

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Project work
  • 186
  • Seminar
  • 20
  • English
  • 206